Eight days after taking Cheltenham by storm with Chatham Street Lad, Mick Winters is hoping Sayce Gold can win her fourth successive race in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle at Thurles.
Chatham Street Lad was a brilliant winner of last Saturday’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in the Cotswolds, after which his ever-popular trainer performed a celebratory roll on the ground in the Prestbury Park winner’s enclosure.
While scenes are likely to be a more low-key should Sayce Gold triumph in Listed company on Sunday, she is undoubtedly an exciting prospect – having already won a Fairyhouse bumper, a Thurles maiden hurdle and a Grade Three at Cork this term.
“We were worried about the extra trip going up to three miles in Mallow (Cork), and now we’re coming back to two miles, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Winters.
“She looks well in herself, and we’re very hopeful and looking forward to it.
“She has to give a bit of weight away to the younger horses. But she’s a big, strong mare – and it’s not going to be easy for four-year-olds in very soft ground.
“This mare has her job done so far, and hopefully she can keep it going.”
The Trevor Hemmings-owned Sayce Gold heads a field of 11 runners, with a pair of unbeaten four-year-olds in Henry de Bromhead’s Kapard and the Willie Mullins-trained course-and-distance winner Gauloise among her rivals.
Winters also provided an upbeat report on Chatham Street Lad’s condition, with connections identifying a handicap chase at Fairyhouse in the new year as a potential next target.
The eight-year-old was priced up for the Marsh Novices’ Chase, the RSA Chase and the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival following his latest triumph, and his trainer is in no rush to decide where he will end up come March.
He said: “We had an enjoyable trip across the water. We were well looked after, and we really appreciated it.
“It was very exciting watching the young jockey on him (Darragh O’Keeffe) floating down the hill. It’s made us all walk a little bit lighter for the moment!
“The horse has come back home very well – the race didn’t knock a feather out of him, and he came out of it without a scratch. He travelled better home than he went.
“The owners are thinking of running in Fairyhouse in January – there’s a two-mile-one-furlong handicap chase there. He’s in great order and he might go there.
“The owners have plenty of time on their hands because they’re half in lockdown, so they’ll be studying away seeing what’s what.
“I think he’s improving all the time, and he can have a bit of time off over Christmas while we all watch the King George and the big races at Leopardstown and stuff like that.”